Kendal Pierson is no stranger to breaking barriers and she did it in style.
The young cowgirl brought the crowd at the Peavey Mart Centrium to their feet in round 4, in the debut of breakaway roping at Canadian Finals Rodeo 47 on Saturday.
Pierson took just two seconds to rope her steer but the moment meant so much more to cowgirls across the country who have long wanted more opportunity in rodeo.
“It was great, the crowd was into it. We’re all grateful to be here. The breakaway ropers are glad for the opportunity that the (Canadian Professional Rodeo Association) gave us and we’re just excited to be here,” she said.
The 17-year-old who hails from Wardlow, Alta., and is part of a long lineage of cowboys and cowgirls, said it was her dream to compete at CFR, but she never thought it would be in breakaway roping.
“When I was little, it wasn’t in the breakaway roping because there was no breakaway roping, I had my eyes set on being at the Canadian Finals in the team roping when I was little,” she said.
“It was pretty cool to bring our sport in and get to rope here as being one of the first ones.”
Breakaway was previewed at the CFR in 2019 but was not part of the official show. It appeared at plenty of rodeo events across the province this summer and has grown in popularity over the last few years.
Pierson has been at the centre of that, as the 2021 NHSRA (National High School Rodeo Association) World Champion and the 2021 AHSRA (Alberta High School Rodeo Association) champion.
“It’s awesome. I’m just the young one but there’s so many people before me and all the older girls, they paved the way for us so I’m grateful for them and for us, to see where the breakaway roping is going,” she said.
Lacombe’s Taylor Flewelling was third and Lakota Bird finished second.
Kane Scott was another CFR rookie to make history, winning his first-ever CFR title in the steer riding. The 15-year-old posted an 84.75 in the fourth and final round of the novice event, to capture the victory.
“It feels pretty good. Good to get it done after what I was hoping for, getting all the travelling and everything, it makes it worth it,” said the Condor cowboy.
On night one of the CFR, Scott broke his leg while posting a 74-point ride. He was bucked off on the next two rides, before finishing off the week in style.
“The first night after I broke my leg, I was down and then I was like I’ll try to get on. I didn’t come here to get out in the first round. I was pretty nervous in the second round. After that I felt pretty confident in everything,” he said.
Scott was adament that this won’t be the last time he competes at the CFR.
“This is just the start,” he said.
“I’m hoping to win – be the bull riding champ. Bulls is where I want to go, it’s what I live for. I’ll be here in the bull riding in a couple years.”